Photo by Colby Brown and Lespwa Haiti
Sebastian Africano, Trees, Water & People's Deputy International Director, sends this very personal account from northwest Haiti, reminding us of the epic challenges faced by the Haitian people each and every day. Sebastian has been in the country since November 8th visiting TWP partners and assessing the current situation in this devastated country.
"Crazy day - went to visit some AMURT project sites, and as we left were greeted with a dead body in the street three houses down from us first thing in the AM. Cholera is real and is spreading. We are being extra cautious to be sure, but there is no fear from our side, just respect. We saw another body in Okap - in the back of a pickup truck with family wailing at full bore in the street. It hits suddenly, and takes people quickly. Sure enough, after our site visits and a quick trip to a beach near here, we came across a procession of vehicles coming downhill from Source Chaude - probably 15 - 20 people jammed in an Izuzu Trooper, all screaming like they were being kidnapped. A procession of motorbikes and walkers followed. Nuts.
Source Chaude is cool, pitch black and over-run by goats, pigs, clouds of mosquitos, and feisty Haitians. Remember that this is where Paul and Andrew came down with severe malaria - it's full on roulette. All water in the taps, etc... comes from a sulfurous steaming hot spring, but we filter it, chlorinate it and re-filter it in a Brita just to be sure. I'm sleeping in a woven hammock I bought in Honduras, behind one of AMURT's buildings, in a windier area, free of mosquitos. I woke up this morning at dawn to the sound of marching, and uncovered my face to find myself completely surrounded by a sea of goats. Got to watch the newborn kids chase each other around all morning - clumsy and clueless as to their eventual purpose. The countryside is nice.
Our people at AMURT are doing some strong strong work, and are definitely inspiring to be with. Tomorrow I'll follow them during an actual work day, and then head back to Port au Prince on Tuesday morning, with a potential stop through the waterfall I mentioned yesterday (glorious). I'll meet with who I can on Tuesday and Wednesday, then leave for DC on Thursday morning..."